Serial rapist in Japan admits plot to evade adult trial

VICE News -- Jan 27
A 20-year-old man received juvenile sentences on Monday for raping and attempting to rape four teenage girls, in a case that has reignited debate over the age of criminal liability in Japan.

The man had told a court in the Shiga Prefecture that he “wanted to rape a lot of women while I’d still be considered a minor.” And that’s what he did.

The man was found guilty of rape and attempted rape involving four girls aged between 15 and 16. He asked the victims to help fix his bicycle before luring them down a quiet street, the Ōtsu District Court of Nagahama City was told.

He was under 20 years of age at the time of the crimes and was tried as a minor under Japan’s Juvenile Law. The court sentenced him to five-and-a-half years in prison, which is just a few months more than the minimum sentence of five years for adult offenders of rape in the country. The Juvenile Law also prohibits anyone from disclosing the rapist’s name.

The case has reignited debate over the minimum age to try someone as an adult in Japan. Under the Japanese Juvenile Law, most 18- and 19-year-olds are tried as minors unless a judge deems the crime too severe, such as murder. No such exception was made for the serial rapist.

The disturbing case comes as Japan has decided to lower the national age of adulthood from 20 to 18 in April 2022, but without changing the age of criminal responsibility.

- VICE News